Are you stressed out as a mom? This is common and something that we all deal with. Here’s how to deal with mom stress with these quick tips and techniques.
As moms, we take on a lot and we wear a lot of hats.
Because of this, we take on a lot of stress.
How do we deal with that?
How do we, as moms, find the time for rest and relaxation?
It’s an important topic and something I’ve given a lot of thought lately. We live in such a busy world where we’re always reachable, constantly bombarded with news updates, email alerts, and of course advertisements. Social media puts us under a lot of pressure to document the perfect life, and in between all that we’re juggling family and career, while paying off student debt and a large mortgage.
No wonder we’re more stressed than ever and stress related illnesses are on the rise.
It’s high time to relax more and take a more active approach to stress reduction.
The Simple Art of Making an Effort to Relax
Let’s look at how making an effort to relax more can help us reduce stress. Feeling stressed is an ancient biochemical process that has served us well over the millennia. It’s a way of quickly putting our body on high alert. It is designed to get us ready for physical activity like running away, or fighting. This has worked well in the distant past, but outside of a sporting event, it doesn’t do us much good these days.
We have to find other coping mechanisms and different ways to calm back down and that’s where making an effort to relax more comes in.
Have you ever gone through a period in your life where you drank way too much coffee (or other caffeinated beverage)? At first, a cup of coffee in the morning will wake you up and keep you alert for a couple of hours.
Then, as you start to drink more and more throughout the day, it takes larger quantities of coffee to get the same effect.
Your body builds up a caffeine tolerance.
It works the same with stress.
The more often we are stressed, the more adrenaline and other stimulating substances and hormones the body has to dump into our system to get the same reaction. The problem is that being too stressed too often takes its toll on the body. We need to get down to a safer level of stress.
With the coffee addiction, we may choose to drink a more calming herbal tea for a while and greatly cut back on the coffee, or even just slowly work our way down to 3 cups a day.
After a while our caffeine tolerance goes back to normal.
Stress works the same way.
We can down-cycle the hormone release by making an effort to relax more and stress less. Not only will it greatly benefit your overall health, you’ll also feel better without all those extra stimulants coursing through your system 24/7.
The Danger of Stress
Stress isn’t inherently a bad thing. Instead, it’s a vital survival process that allowed us to run away from danger or get ready to fight back during the caveman days. Even today, stress can motivate us and help us get through cramming all night long for an important exam or getting an important work project finished. There is a time and a place for stress. The big problem today is that we’re under too much stress and feel it almost all the time.
That’s when stress can become very dangerous and even deadly.
Stress tends to be categorized into two different types of stress.
Acute stress and chronic stress.
Acute stress is what you feel when you’re in a dangerous situation. When your house catches on fire, and you barely get out, you’re feeling acute stress. While it takes a toll on the body, it’s not nearly as dangerous and deadly as chronic stress.
This is the type of constant stress we feel day in and day out that I described at the beginning of this post.
It simply starts to wear out the body. Stress will do damage to your heart, your arteries, and even your gut and your immune system. Stressed people frequently suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, stomach and digestive problems, ulcers, and due to the lowered immune system, they are more susceptible to various bacterial and viral infections like cold and flu.
Add to that the fact that high stress is often accompanied by insomnia it’s no wonder we feel bad.
Stress makes it harder to heal and recover from any injury or sickness, and it’s clear that stress is dangerous and something we need to address.
It’s important to focus on reducing stress as much as we can and find ways to cope better. We have to actively make time for relaxation to give our body a chance to recoup and recover. While there isn’t always a lot we can do about external stressors, there is a lot we can do to counterbalance from yoga and meditation, to getting more sleep and cutting back on distractions.
In light of all the damage chronic stress can do to your body and the negative effect it can have on your overall health and well-being, are you ready to embrace rest and relaxation? If so, don’t miss tomorrow’s post where we start to take a closer look. For now, simply start to become more aware of the stress you’re under.
It’s much easier to start addressing the problem once you’ve become aware of it.
The Importance of Rest and Relaxation for Stressed Out Moms
In today’s fast paced world we’re constantly on the go. We work long hours and even bring extra work home to catch up on at night and on the weekend. We work hard at parenting, keeping up the house and yard, and maintaining a social life. We are busier than ever, yet we are all still limited to twenty-four hours per day.
Even those of us who have this time management thing down? We still need to rest.
Something has to give and more often than not it has been rest and relaxation.
Sleep is essential for our survival. We can’t survive very long without it. If you’ve had a newborn in the house or been in any other situation where you didn’t get much sleep for days and weeks on end, you know how bad the effects of sleep deprivation can be. Severe lack of sleep will be noticeable very quickly.
You can pull one all-nighter, but go for a couple of days on little-to-no sleep and you’ll start to feel like you’re going insane.
Cutting back on sleep just a little here and there is trickier.
That’s why we’ve gotten away for so long with six to seven hours of sleep and little time for rest and relaxation outside of those hours.
We’ve been burning the candle at both ends and it doesn’t really work to our advantage.
We need to make rest, relaxation, and adequate sleep a priority to stay healthy and productive. We may feel like we get more done when we get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. We feel like we’re catching up on work when we bring it home on the weekend to work on. Yes, it gives us more hours to work on stuff, but it often doesn’t make us any more productive.
Work will fill the space we give it.
By making rest and relaxation a priority and giving both body and mind to recharge, we can get just as much done in a shorter amount of time.
Sometimes it feels like we’ve forgotten how to rest and relax. We’re running wide open all day long and while it can feel exhilarating and productive, it wears us down and takes a toll on our health and well-being.
Plus relaxing can be a lot of fun when you take the time to rediscover the joy of it.
Stress Busting Benefits of Taking a Nap
I’m going to share some of my favorite quick stress busters with you.
These are quick and easy strategies and ideas you can put to work right away to relax more and stress less.
While not all of them will become your go-to favorites, I would like to encourage you to give them each a try as I share them. Keep the ones that work well for you and employ them whenever you feel particularly stressed and worn out. It will do you a lot of good and it will help to have some coping mechanisms in place when life throws you a curve ball.
We need sleep to recover from our busy days. During times when we don’t get enough of it, are sick, or just plain feel worn down, one of the best things we can do to stay healthy and productive is to take a nap.
Yes, you heard me right. I’m telling you to go take a nap.
Trust me, naps aren’t just for toddlers. They work just as well on a cranky, overworked, and stressed-out adult. You may tell yourself that you’re too old for naps, don’t need one, or can’t sleep during the day.
None of that is true.
There are many cultures around the world where it’s common to nap during the day and research shows that it can be extremely beneficial and actually help you get more done. It’s so powerful that some companies now encourage employees to nap at work. At the very least it’s worth a try.
You don’t even have to get to sleep to benefit from napping. Just lay down, get comfortable, close your eyes and doze for a bit. This rest instead of actual sleep will help. If you do go to sleep, you don’t have to stay asleep for very long to benefit from a nap. Sleeping as little as two to five minutes is enough to refresh your brain.
If you’re worried about waking up groggy, try a coffee nap.
The idea is to drink a cup of coffee right before you lay down for a short nap. Because it takes the body a while to process the caffeine in your Cup of Joe, you’ll be able to take a short nap and wake up alert and ready to tackle the rest of your busy day.
How to Measure Your Stress Levels
Stress isn’t, in and off itself, a bad thing. It’s a natural process designed to protect or at least prepare us for imminent danger. Stress helps us run fast to catch a train, or run away from a threat.
It’s the trigger to our fight or flight response.
Stress motivates us to stop procrastinating and get our work done. It’s what makes us sit down and study for that final exam or to get our taxes done.
In small doses and for a short time, stress is a good thing. It becomes a problem when we are under too much stress and when it’s constant. Chronic stress is what causes all those negative side effects and health issues like high blood pressure and heart disease.
But stress is tricky.
It builds up slowly and sneaks up on us. We get used to being over worked and over stimulated. Often we don’t even realize just how stressed we are until something happens and our body forces us to slow down.
Don’t let it come to that.
Learn to see the early signs of being too stressed.
Take control of it, work on reducing stress, and most importantly make time to rest and relax so you can recover from the unavoidable stress and pressure life throws at you.
Often the first signs that you’re being stressed out is a general feeling of anxiety and feeling unwell. You may start to have trouble sleeping and it is harder to concentrate and focus.
You may be eating more and snacking throughout the day in an effort to keep your energy up. Sweet and salty foods are particularly appealing, and it’s not uncommon to get in the habit of self-medicating with a glass of wine or the likes in the evening to unwind. You are feeling overwhelmed and it’s all too easy to focus only on the negative.
From there it’s just a short trip into depression and loneliness.
That comes with its own set of physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, and such. You are even more likely to come down with the cold or flu as your immune system is compromised.
The problem is that these symptoms of being stressed tend to stress us out even more. We keep pushing harder to make up for lost time. We get more stressed and start feeling worse.
The only way to break the cycle is to address the problem – the stress. We do it by making a conscious effort to cut out stress, relax, and give ourselves, our bodies, and our minds the time and rest they need to recover.